Loudspeakers and billboards will be dismantled as part of an agreement to reduce tensions on the world's most heavily fortified frontier on Tuesday.

But the North has remained defiant to demands it scrap its nuclear ambitions. It said six-nation talks due to open on 23 June were unlikely to make progress unless the US showed a willingness to compromise.

A North Korean Foreign Ministry said "nothing will be expected from the forthcoming talks" if the US continued to insist it completely dismantled its nuclear programmes, adding that such a demand could only "be forced on a defeated country".

Improving relations?

Meanwhile, a group of about 100 North Koreans is in Seoul to mark the anniversary of the inter-Korean summit, which at the time was heralded as an important step forward in inter-Korean relations.

"Inter-Korean co-operation will be accelerated if the nuclear issue is resolved"

Roh Moo-hyun,
South Korean President

Although little progress has been made, China announced on Tuesday that it would host the third round of six-nation talks on North Korea's nuclear weapons ambitions from 23 to 26 June, in Beijing.

North Korea has said it was willing to freeze its nuclear programme in return for economic aid, and would only dismantle it if given assurances the US would not invade.

South Korean offer

Correspondents say the North appears to be trying to improve ties with its neighbours, like South Korea and Japan, while waiting to see the outcome of the US general elections before it decides its next moves with Washington.
 
South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun has offered numerous incentives to the North to scrap its nuclear weapons programme.

In a speech to mark the anniversary of the inter-Korean summit, he said the South would help to rebuild the North's infrastructure and enhance industrial production, as well as assist to join international organisations.
 
"Inter-Korean co-operation will be accelerated if the nuclear issue is resolved, and we are preparing comprehensive and concrete plans for that," he said.